Long-lost diary of top Hitler aide offers window into Nazi soul

Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:54pm EDT
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By Myles Miller

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - U.S. officials on Thursday unveiled the 400-page diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a top aide to Adolf Hitler, who oversaw the genocide against Jews and others during World War Two.

The diary disappeared after the Nuremberg trials in 1946, sparking a nearly 70-year hunt that ended on April 5 in the upstate New York town of Lewiston, at the home of an academic named Herbert Richardson.

The diary pages, hand-written in German and not yet completely translated into English by scholars, offers a broader look at the Third Reich's policies and practices, as well as an unvarnished account of a Nazi leader's thoughts, authorities said at a news conference on Thursday.

"These 400 pages are a window into the dark soul of one of the great wrongs in human history," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which investigates cases of missing cultural property. "It's significant because, as time marches on, there are fewer living witnesses of what happened during the Holocaust. We still don't know the full extent."

Pages of the diary, which will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., were shown to reporters, including one entry dated April 1941.

Rosenberg describes walking alone after "an important meeting" with Hitler, who told him: "Your great hour has come."

Museum senior adviser Henry Mayer, who had been searching for the diary for 17 years, noted Rosenberg did not elaborate in the entry.

"What Hitler described was so great, he couldn't put it down," Mayer told reporters.   Continued...

Papers from the recovered diary of Nazi leader Alfred Rosenberg are displayed during a news conference at the Department of Homeland Security office in Wilmington, Delaware, June 13, 2013. The U.S. government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War Two. Picture taken through a glass panel. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer